Ad Kindle takes #1, Saturday Kindle offers & deals

First, for your Kindle, an offer and some deals from the Big 6 publishers –

  1. Private Games by Tawny Taylor. Price: $0. Genre: Erotica, A Simple Board Game. Rated 5 stars on 4 reviews. Thanks to Happy Reader Joyce for pointing this out.
  2. The Mystery of the Big Ben by Fernando Trujillo Sanz. Price: $0. Genre: Mr. White vs Mr. Black, London Crime, A Sea of Intrigue.
  3. Black Order by James Rollins. Price: $1.99. Genre: American Special-Ops, Thriller, Return of the Nazis. This is the discounted version with a sampler of the NY Times Bestselling author’s forthcoming novel. The full-price version is $8.99 and rated 4 stars on 170 reviews.
  4. Angel’s Tip by Alafair Burke. Price: $1.99. Genre: Thriller, Woman Sleuth, Suspenseful. The full-priced version is $7.99 and rated 4 stars on 65 reviews. It’s got a Starred Review from Publishers’ Weekly.
  5. Bulls’ Island by Dorothea Benton Frank. Price: $1.99. Genre: Romance. Please keep in mind that this was a free offer in the past – so you might already have it. The full version is $7.99 and rated 3.5 stars on 73 reviews.
  6. The Scavenger’s Daughter by Mike McIntyre. Price: $1. Genre: Hard-boiled, Police Procedural, Self-storage Unit filled with Medieval Instruments of Torture. Rated 5 stars on 13 reviews. This is a limited time offer on a book by an author picked for Oprah’s Book Club (not for this book).
  7. Daring by Dee Davis. Price: $1.99. Genre: Elite CIA Unit under cover in the Ivy League, Romance, Adventure. This just seems to be a straight up deal before launch. 

Thanks to the Kindle owners sharing deals at the Kindle Forum Discounted Books thread for these deals.

Next, let’s look at Simon Wood’s charity promotion –

Last year, Simon Wood’s wife suffered a cancer scare and in her honor, he’s raising money for cancer research. In addition to taking part in a 100-mile sponsored cycle ride, anyone who purchases the ebook version of his thriller PAYING THE PIPER from Amazon, Amazon UK and Barnes & Noble during the weekend of May 14-15 – he’ll donate the royalties to the cancer clinics.

Alternatively, people can donate to the charity here:

Paying the Piper is rated 5 stars on 20 reviews. It’s a Hard-Boiled Mystery.

Finally, a bit on the Ad Kindle and its ascent to best-selling Kindle status.

Ad Kindle is now the best-selling Kindle

Silicon Alley Insider somehow found the time (in between posting unsubstantiated rumors) to check Amazon Store rankings and figure out that the $114 AdKindle is the best-selling Kindle.

SAI writes about the AdKindle

1) People don’t hate advertising as much as some Internet wonks think they do.

2) The $25 savings from the ad-supported edition matters to people.

3) Cheaper Kindles sell better than more expensive Kindles.

Yes, it probably does mean one or more of those things. It’s still not a good thing. It paves the way for advertising of other sorts. Screensavers today, in-between chapters tomorrow, and at the top of every page the day after.

My gut feeling is that it’s all about the low price and the way Amazon has phrased it – Special Offers sounds a lot less horrific than Advertising.

SAI suggests, and now it almost seems a given, that a $99 Ad Kindle is a virtual guarantee for this holiday season. I’d throw in a $125 or $150 Ad Kindle 3G to the mix. Perhaps even a $75 Super Ad Kindle which has ads in books.

Kindle with Special Offers Review

Kindle with Special Offers is $114, which is $25 cheaper than the normal Kindle WiFi.

The following Kindle with Special Offers review is based on around 9 months use of the Kindle 3 which is basically Kindle with Special Offers without the offers (ads) but with 3G.

The Kindle 3 Review covers all the features of Kindle with Special Offers except there is no 3G on the Special Offers Kindle and it has ads (Operation Special Offers). This post covers the pros and cons of the special offers part plus a quick list of major pros and cons of the Kindle itself.

Are the Special Offers just Advertising?

Yes, though to be precise they are more accurately described as Groupon style offers. The newest member of the Kindle family is basically Groupon in your Hand. A way for Amazon to leverage the Kindle as an offers portal and to sell Kindle owners everything (as opposed to just books).

A few examples –

  1. $10 for $20 Amazon Gift Card.
  2. $1 for an album in the Amazon MP3 store.
  3. $10 for $30 of products in the Amazon Denim Shop.

There are also going to be offers from other companies such as Buick and Olay.

Where will these special offers be shown? How often?

  1. They will be displayed as screensavers.
  2. They will be displayed on the main page.
  3. They will NOT be displayed in books.

My understanding is that the screensavers are always special offers and the main page special offer is always present.

By not having ads in books Amazon has saved itself from an avalanche of criticism. At the same time, adding ads to the Kindle is not really the best move. A lifetime of ads for a one-time saving of $25 is not exactly a great deal.

Is $25 worth the pain of advertising on the Kindle?

 It’s hard to say.

You get – A Kindle for $25 less. Some offers which seem pretty decent.

You lose – Your screensavers are now ads instead of dead authors. You have an ad (aka special offer) on your main home page.

The Saving Grace – The purity of books themselves is left untouched.

You could always hack your Kindle and get other screensavers. You could develop screensaver blindness and learn to totally disregard the offers.

Kindle with Special Offers Review

Do check out the Kindle 3 Review for a detailed list of pros and cons. The difference with Kindle with Special Offers is that you get Kindle for just $114, do not get 3G, and have these ads (special offers) built-in.

Main Pros of Kindle with Special Offers

  1. Just $114. A very impressive price. 
  2. Some of the offers sound pretty good.
  3. Kindle is the best dedicated reading device.
  4. Kindle has an amazing eInk screen that is great for reading books.
  5. WiFi support.
  6. Kindle with Special Offers is very light and compact. It weighs just 8.5 ounces.
  7. Kindle Store has the best range of books, and the best prices for non-Agency Model books.
  8. There are regular free offers though they are mostly romance, business, and religion related.
  9. There are millions of free public domain books available in Kindle format through Project Gutenberg, Many Books, and the Internet Archive.
  10. Kindle has up to a month of battery life with wireless off, and up to 3 weeks of battery life with WiFi on.
  11. There is enough memory for 3,500 books (total memory is 4 GB, out of which 3.3 GB is available).
  12. There is text to speech – unless the Publisher of a book has turned it off for that book.
  13. There is a very limited lending feature – If lending is turned on by the Publisher then you can lend a book once, to one person, for 14 days.
  14. Kindle is very simple to use.

There are definitely a lot of pros.

Main Cons of Kindle with Special Offers

  1. There are ads instead of screensavers and ads on the Kindle Home Page.
  2. $25 is not a very big amount given you will have to put up with a lifetime of ads.
  3. The eInk screen does not have a backlight so you will need a reading light at night.
  4. You need access to a WiFi network if you want to browse the Kindle store, browse the Internet, or download a book. You can buy books through your PC and then transfer them to your Kindle. Note: You do not need WiFi when reading – you can read books without wireless.
  5. There is no color and no touchscreen.
  6. It is only good for reading.
  7. PDF support is decent but not exceptional. Also, the 6-inch screen is not ideal for PDFs.
  8. There is no ePub support – which means no support for library books.
  9. The battery is not replaceable.
  10. There is no memory card slot.
  11. It’s rather delicate.

The cons are the regular cons of the Kindle 3 with the added negatives that there is no 3G and that you will have advertisements instead of screensavers.

A Strange Move by Amazon

Kindle with Special Offers is a rather strange move by Amazon.

$25 is not much – In fact, $114 is a pretty unremarkable price. A $100 price, on the other hand, would have been a huge difference maker. You almost feel as if there is more to come. This release seems to be a hasty, cobbled together offering.

Is this move an indication that Amazon is positioning Kindle as a personal shopping device? Is Amazon just introducing ads to lower the price and thus sell more Kindles? Is this the first step in turning Kindle into Groupon in Your Hand?

Perhaps the strangest part of this strange Kindle with Special Offers release is a Kindle app and website that will let users vote on ads and pick their favorites.

Will update this Kindle with Special Offers Review once more information is out. For the moment – You get $25 off the price of the Kindle if you are willing to have ads on your Kindle. Thankfully, the ads are not in your Kindle books.